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Saturday’s downpour forces the first-ever cancellation of popular Harvest Festival parade

Kennedy DeMond, aged 7, bravely holds two tiny corn snakes. She was among the many people of all ages who moved indoors out of the heavy rain on Saturday to enjoy the Harvest Festival's Family Day activities at the Credit Union Centre in Kensington.
Kennedy DeMond, aged 7, bravely holds two tiny corn snakes. She was among the many people of all ages who moved indoors out of the heavy rain on Saturday to enjoy the Harvest Festival's Family Day activities at the Credit Union Centre in Kensington. - Desiree Anstey

Crowds hopped indoors to participate in the fun activities


KENSINGTON, P.E.I. – For the first time in 51 years, the annual Harvest Festival parade, which was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, didn’t proceed as planned due to bad weather.

The Bell Aliant Harvest Festival Parade was originally scheduled to kick off the celebrations, featuring 75 pre-registered entries, at 2 p.m. in Kensington.

“We usually get between 125 to 140 entries on the day,” said Robert Wood, chairman of the Harvest Festival.

But, heavy rainfall put an end to this year’s event, which is always a highlight of the festival.

Environment Canada issued a rainfall warning for P.E.I., forecasting 40 to 60 millimetres and possible flooding in low-lying areas.

The parade attracts anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 spectators a year.

“Unfortunately, the parade takes a considerable number of organizers and volunteers to run safely and efficiently; therefore we are unable to reschedule an event of this size. Many floats made the decision that they would not participate due to the heavy rain forecasted,” Wood said.

“Our committee has events scheduled for Sunday, which they are needed at. We are very sad that the parade cannot happen this year. There's been a lot of time and money put into this event by everyone.”

Catherine Gallant, treasurer of the Kensington Skating Club, said they pulled their float from the parade earlier because of the weather warning. However, instead of letting the rain dampen their spirits, they hopped over to the Credit Union Centre in Kensington to enjoy the Family Day, from 3 to 5 p.m.

“With the weather and the age of our group, we pulled out our float, but unfortunately the rain decided to stick around and cancel the parade. We’re sad it was cancelled and hopefully this isn’t a pattern with the weather, but we plan to be back in the parade next year,” she said.

“After the parade people normally flock to the centre, so it’s been a slow start, but now it’s getting busy and that’s good. We have our ice-cream booth here amid all the activities for the kids and we’re fundraising for the local skating club. We will be here from Monday to Wednesday this week.”

The festivities also included live entertainment and free mussels at the Kensington Legion.

At a glance

Following is the Harvest Festival Schedule for the remainder of the week:

Monday, Aug. 20:

– 9 a.m. to noon: Reg Hiltz Memorial Flower Show

– 9 a.m. to noon: Women’s Institute Food and Vegetable Exhibit and Handicraft exhibit registration

– 6 p.m.: Flower Show Awards

– 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Savour the Flavours Samplings

– 6:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies with special guest Jeremy Wall, Special Olympics P.E.I. Athlete of the Year, and Clair Mayhew, Volunteer of the Year Award

– 7 p.m.: Miss Community Gardens Pageant Talent Portion

– 8 p.m.: Ultimate Fisherman’s Challenge

Tuesday, Aug. 21:

– 6-7:30 p.m.: Poutine Stations Competition: Who has the best Kensington Poutine?

– 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Meet and greet with favourite characters – Spidey, beauty, P.E.I. Little Mermaid and Snow

– 7-8:30 p.m.: P.E.I. Mutual Youth Talent Contest

Wednesday, Aug. 22:

– Noon to 4 p.m.: Crokinole games

– 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Live music entertainment – Summer Nights Concert Series at Credit Union Centre

– 7:30-8:30 p.m.: Miss Community Gardens Pageant Evening Wear Portion

– 8:30 p.m.: Live music by Party Mix

– 9:15 p.m.: Miss Community Gardens 2018 Crowning Ceremony

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